There are signs everywhere that the personalization revolution in the consumer space is not “coming soon;” it’s here now. My buddy has a one-off custom T-shirt word-playing his name onto an animal silhouette, and my Nike shoes are custom-colored with a mix of my favorite bright colors.
We also just received a childhood friend’s personalized wedding announcement in the mail that was printed by Minted. And as on-demand manufacturing expands to more manufacturing verticals, a completely personalized lifestyle will become a reality.
The Personalized Product Revolution Is Now
In the past two decades, technology has allowed consumer-focused companies to not only shorten the feedback loop of bringing a product to a consumer market, they’ve brought the consumer right into the product-building experience. This helps to minimize dead-stock and unsold inventory, as well as create unique products precisely the way consumers want them. Nike participates with custom colors on their shoes, so how long until the manufacturing process allows for custom images or patterns on our shoes as well?
Etsy has been at the heart of the handmade good revolution, empowering makers from around the world to connect with a global audience to the tune of $1 billion in annual transactions. Sellers on Etsy may deliver physical goods, but many creative projects start with a digital good, like a customized message in a unique typeface that has been laser etched into a piece of wood. At Creative Market, as early as our first year we saw our sellers of customized mousemade goods—which then become T-shirts, posters, cards and artwork—earn a combined $1 million.
As personalization takes over the consumer space, the tools that empower consumers to be their own designers and produce beautiful results are as critical to product quality as the manufacturing process. With every design tool there are assets involved to help overcome the “blank canvas” problem. It might be a document template, a typeface, an illustration or a photo … but with every creative project there are tools that help the creator work better, faster.
Creative Market, The Maker Movement + Mousemade Goods
Creative Market is a part of this movement, providing a marketplace and a community where anyone seeking resources like fonts, themes and illustrations can connect, buy and sell mousemade goods. Our community includes casual users who just need a beautiful website template but don’t have the necessary skills to create one from scratch, as well as professional designers seeking the right resource for client work.
Creative Market has recently joined the Autodesk Consumer Group (ACG), a portfolio of maker, art and home design tools that enable self-expression. ACG’s vision has been a focus on people who make things and a desire to democratize the underlying tools and technologies. By joining forces, ACG can lead Creative Market to a future where beautiful design can be simple and accessible to everyone.
We’ve always envisioned Creative Market as more than a destination website; as one that lives in the creative tools people use every day. As part of a company that ships some of the world’s best design software, this will become a new reality on a new level. The combined vision, tools and creativity of ACG and Creative Market promises that everyone’s virtual, physical, personal and professional lives can be an extension of the personality and creativity within each of us.
The consumer revolution will be personalized, and we will all get to use our own tastes, ideas and inspirations to customize the world in which we live. Companies like Etsy, Minted, Threadless, Creative Market & Autodesk, who embrace the idea of allowing consumers to get customized and personalized goods, not only give value to the people, they’re building a very big business.
Goodbye Consumer. Hello Creator. How will you make the world look?
Darius Monsef is the Senior Manager of Marketplace, Autodesk and Founder & CEO of Creative Market.
Have you created a design project worth shouting about from the rooftops? If so, we want to see it. Be sure to enter it in the 2014 HOW Promotion & Design Awards. The final deadline is March 24.